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Tuesday, August 22, 2017
August 22, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:46 PM :: 3530 Views

Oahu Event: New Directions in Education

A strange mix of piracy and racketeering

UPDATE: No More Bailouts for Rail!

Pearl City: 43 Homeless Forced to Accept Shelter

What Does it Take to be Expelled from Manoa Mosque?

UH Selected to Host ‘Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center’ 

Hawaii Rankings: How Good is Your Community College?

Legislators: GE Tax Hike and TAT Hike to Pay for Rail

CB: Although details of the bill aren’t yet set, lawmakers say compromise legislation is emerging that could raise the state’s hotel room tax by 1 percentage point to rescue the rail project from its $2.5 billion shortfall. The increase would add about $2.35 to the average daily price of a hotel room.

In addition, the general excise tax rail surcharge would likely be extended for a few years.

House and Senate leaders could announce as early as Wednesday that they have the minimum two-thirds votes in each chamber needed to convene a special session beginning Monday. …

Some lawmakers also want language in the bill requiring an audit of the rail project and possible punitive measures should HART and the city not abide by its findings…..

If an acceptable bill makes it out of the Legislature, the governor seems poised to sign it.

Gov. David Ige said in an emailed statement, “We need to make sure that we provide sufficient funding so that the project can be completed to Ala Moana.”…

Increasing the hotel tax has another benefit over the general excise tax increase, said Tom Yamachika, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, a nonpartisan tax-policy think tank.

The new tax would provide money sooner than an extension of the general excise tax, which would not kick in until 2027. The excise tax extension means Honolulu would have to borrow money to pay current costs and use excise tax money to pay off the loans, with interest, far into the future.

Some lawmakers have estimated the city could save $1 billion in interest by “front-loading” the payments by increasing the hotel tax…..

“Basically, you have money that you need now,” Yamachika said….

SA: 10.25 percent TAT for 10 years -- 4-yr extension of GE tax surcharge on Oahu

read … Tax Them Til They Bleed

Rail represents everything that is wrong with state government

HNN: …Now that the project is well underway — and well over budget — there's clear frustration from many who view rail as a runaway train.

"I think the rail to them represents everything that is wrong with our state government," said Colin Moore, director of the University of Hawaii Center for Public Policy. "It's this insider game where the unions and construction that benefits that's sort of poorly managed and largely corrupt."

Next Monday, lawmakers will gather to take on an issue that has so far eluded them: How to fund Honolulu's beleaguered rail project.

And they're doing so at a crucial moment for the project: It's got new leadership, its cost overruns are spurring federal attention, and concerns about the project's final price tag — and its future — are growing among the taxpayers who will ultimately pay for it….

read … Public frustrated over rail's price tag, management ... but they still want to see it finished

Caldwell Plan: Tax Military Families to Pay for Rail

PBN: …The president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii says Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s argument for extending the general excise tax surcharge to pay for rail doesn’t add up to his stance against raising the state’s real property tax.

“Caldwell keeps on saying one third of the G.E.T. is paid by tourists. He says if we don’t use the G.E.T. then we’ve got to rely on property tax and then that makes it on us, which isn’t true,” Tom Yamachika, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, told Pacific Business News.

Yamachika says the Tax Foundation’s own study concluded that only 15 to 20 percent of the G.E.T. is paid by visitors….

Yamachika said only by expanding the definition of tourists to include other nonresidents, like the military or the federal government, does the percentage come closer to 30 percent….

Background: GE Tax: Audit Shows Tourists pay only 14.1% of Rail Surcharge

read … Tax Foundation of Hawaii questions mayor’s reasoning for proposing G.E.T. extension to fund rail

Kishimoto: I will let HSTA do Whatever it Wants

CB: Hawaii’s new school superintendent says she’s not going to tell school leaders how to do their jobs or second-guess decisions they’ve made about what’s best for students….

“As long as you’re not breaking the law, and you have the resources and you’re making decisions on behalf of children first … and you’re being really being student-centered, then come ask me for forgiveness,” Kishimoto said in an interview with Civil Beat Monday. “I’m not looking to police everyone around what they can and cannot do. We hire professionals for that reason — to go and make decisions at the various levels.”….

In a nearly hourlong interview, Kishimoto said she does not profess to know which school models may work for any one community or what programs should be implemented for any one school.

She intends to let educators and school leaders decide that for themselves — and she’s encouraging them to take risks.

“The people who are going to impact student learning are the teachers in the classroom,” she said. “They have to be empowered to make decisions on a daily basis about the adjustments they need to make on instruction to support the kids.” ….

read … HSTA Crushes School Reform

KSBE Trustees: Jeff Stone Operative Replaces Al Hee Operative

HNN: …Disney executive (Jeff Stone operative) Elliot Mills was named a Kamehameha Schools trustee after Probate Judge Mark Browning made the appointment Monday.

Mills was selected over former DOE superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and former state Land Board Director Tim Johns who were the other finalists.

Mills was reportedly the only finalist with Hawaiian blood.

The Hilo native has an extensive background in hotel, travel industry management and serves as a board member for various local hospitals and community organizations.

“Mr. Mills will bring vast knowledge and insight to our organization," Chairman of Board of Trustees Michane Kane said. "Aulani is a major employer on the Leeward Coast of Oahu, so he will add a unique community perspective as we continue to implement our strategic plan."

Mills replaces former trustee (Al Hee operative) Janeen-Ann Olds…..

Flashback: Cayetano: Hanabusa's Broken Trust connections lead to Ko Olina

read … Insider

Neutral party sought in heiress’s case

SA: Abigail Kawananakoa’s former attorney and now trustee of her $200 million estate formally asked the court Monday to appoint a neutral party to investigate the legal issues and circumstances surrounding the Campbell Estate heiress and to authorize independent medical examinations.

In addition, James Wright said he will offer evidence to the court showing that the 91-year-old Kawananakoa, who recently suffered a stroke, faces both physical and financial danger as long as she remains under the controlling influence of her private secretary and life partner of more than 20 years, Veronica Gail Worth.

The probate court request is the latest move in a high-profile dispute over control of an estate that includes the Abigail K.K. Kawananakoa Foundation, which was set up by Kawananakoa to become a charity underwriting Native Hawaiian causes following her death…..

Wright has said Worth asked Kawananakoa for $26 million in stock in March but was refused, prompting the girlfriend to separate from her partner until she returned following news of the stroke.

Worth, a beneficiary of the trust, has reportedly received an allowance of $700,000 a year and previously demanded that Kawananakoa provide her with $50,000 a month for the rest of Worth’s life after tax.

Rudy said he and Kawananakoa’s attorney, Michael Lilly, would be filing a petition with the court to establish a gag order, in part to stop the “outrageous” statements that Wright has been telling the media….

Wright said his motivation, as trustee, is to enforce the rules of the trust, which includes protecting the foundation and its charitable aims.

The foundation, established by Kawananakoa in 2001, is expected to control about $100 million after the will’s beneficiaries are given their share.

“The pie is only so big, and if Veronica keeps increasing the size of her slice, there’s not going to be much left for the Hawaiians,” he said….

CB: Is Hawaii’s Royal Princess Mentally Fit?

Related: Kawananakoa Estate: Sex, Drugs, and Inequality

read … Domestic Violence

Outcry over secrecy surrounding termination of Honolulu police officer, possible pay off

HNN:  Honolulu Police Commissioner Loretta Sheehan sent a letter Monday to HPD's Acting Chief Cary Okimoto, saying the public has a right to know about the termination of Darren Cachola, a former sergeant, who is trying to get his job back…..

The two page letter is stirring up another call for less secrecy at the Honolulu Police Department.

Sheehan is asking for all records related to the investigation saying "The public interest in knowing how HPD has handled the investigation, discipline, and dismissal of Sgt. Cachola is extraordinarily important."

The 19-year HPD veteran was fired after video surfaced of him fighting with his ex-girlfriend in a Waipahu Restaurant in 2014.  He has been trying to get his job back since, but earlier this year, his new wife called 9-1-1 saying he tried to strangle her.  Cachola was never arrested or charged in either case. 

Sources say, HPD is refusing to let him return to the force and that could cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars instead. 

Both sides headed into arbitration last week….

read … Pay Off

Former DOCARE Manager Charged With Child Molestation

KGI:  Tarey Low is charged with 28 counts of sexual assault, 26 of which are sexual assault in the first degree. The remaining two charges are sexual assault three, knowing sexual contact with strong compulsion….

Low, who lives in Kapaa, is a former Kauai Police Department officer and state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officer. He is said to have allegedly sexually assaulted a female minor from June 29, 2007, through Feb. 14, 2014, according to a 13-page indictment.

He started as a DLNR DOCARE officer on April 2, 1990. He became the Kauai district DLNR DOCARE manager in November 2001, and retired on June 1, 2009.

Low, 56, served with the KPD in the 1980s….

Pattern: DLNR Finally Gets Around to Firing Rapist Cop Son of HGEA President

read … Tarey Low faces over 20 counts of sex assault

Go West Young Bum! Sit-lie ban extended to 15 other Oahu communities

HNN: Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a bill expanding strict sit-lie restrictions to other parts of Oahu Monday.

In ongoing efforts to ensure sidewalks remain clear of homeless campsites, Mayor Caldwell signed Bill 66, banning individuals from sitting or laying on public sidewalks.

Bill 66 expands the restrictions to include 15 additional zones….

PDF: Bill 66

SA: City expands area for ‘sit-lie’ restriction

KHON: Honolulu mayor signs bill expanding sit-lie ban to Pacific, Victoria streets

And: Pearl City: 43 Homeless Forced to Accept Shelter--33 Transferred to Waianae

read … Sit –Lie

State certified vs. black market: Potheads paying for quality

HNN: "It's probably double the price of what I usually pay for when I get it from my friends," said Romy, a patient who has purchased products from Aloha Green. "I think they should lower it, at least to make it affordable."

Aloha Green offers several different strains and prices start at about $17 per gram. The company says it offers a higher quality product that's lab tested.

"We guarantee that there's no pesticides, fungicides, no bacteria and mold that can be harmful to patients," explained Tai Cheng, Aloha Green's chief operating officer. "That's something the black market dealers cannot do."

Aloha Green is working to expand its production to help drive the prices down. If prices drop too low, however, the state is worried that some patients may end up reselling the products…..

Registered patients may buy up to 4 ounces during a 15 consecutive day period and a maximum of eight ounces over a 30 consecutive day period.

"What we're seeing from patients now is they're just testing the market. They're testing the dispensaries to see if they can provide a good quality product for a good price," said Cheng. "We're not seeing patients buying the full 4 ounces or the full allotment that the department allows them."

Even though they now have a legal way to buy medical cannabis, some patients aren't ready to completely give up on the black market until dispensary prices come down.

"Maybe half and half. Over here you get a selection of stuff. With the black market, it's more you get what you get," said Romy….

HNN: In Las Vegas, Waimanalo native cashes in on cannabis industry

read … Medicated

VICTORY! 3,700 Days of Big Wind, Big Cable Finally End

IM: The idea of building massive wind farms on Moloka`i and Lana`i to feed power hungry O`ahu dates from 2007. 

The Hawaiian Electric Company 2007 Corporate Sustainability Report was released in June 2007. "Molokai & Lanai: UPC Wind and Castle & Cooke proposing large-scale wind farms."

The idea received support from the Hawai`i Clean Energy Initiative signed by the State and Hawaiian Electric Company in 2008…..

…The Commission closed the Lanai Wind proceeding on August 15, 2017.

“Despite the commission's past intention to initiate a proceeding to review the progress of the potential 200 MW wind project Castle and Cooke Properties, Inc. proposed to develop on the island of Lanai, the Legislature notes that its current priorities do not include an interisland transmission system.”.

“Based on the recent repeal of HRS chapter 269, part VIII, Interisland Transmission System, and the Legislature's determination that its current priorities do not include an interisland transmission system, the commission determines that it is appropriate to close this docket.”

The Commission closed the cable proceeding on August 15, 2017.

“Based on the apparent lack of necessity, at this time, of an interisland cable, and the repeal of the legislation that established the regulatory structure under which interisland undersea transmission cables could be developed, financed, and constructed, the commission finds it appropriate to close the subject docket.”

CB: Big Wind Has — Finally — Blown Over

read … Dead

Sierra Club sues state to force Statewide replacement of fuel tanks

SA: …The nonprofit environmental corporation filed the lawsuit against DOH and department Director Virginia Pressler in state court Thursday.

The lawsuit claims that DOH has ignored state law by failing to enact rules to require owners of underground storage tanks to perform upgrades to prevent releases of hazardous substances.

State lawmakers approved legislation in 1992 that allows the DOH director to adopt, amend and repeal state rules controlling and regulating underground storage tanks and tank systems. The law required the department to adopt standards and mandated the replacement or upgrade of then-existing tanks or tank systems by Dec. 22, 1998, to prevent releases over their operating life.

(NOTE: This will apply to tanks statewide, not just Red Hill.)

The lawsuit doesn’t name the Navy’s Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, but references a 2014 petroleum leak from an underground storage tank located above the groundwater source for about 763,000 permanent residents within the Pearl Harbor area…..

CB: Sierra Club lawsuit says 38 privately owned tanks need to be upgraded in addition to Red Hill

PDF: Lawsuit

read ... Suit

Not Worth It: Operator Admits US Windfarms kill 500K Birds per Year

SA: “A study by the National Academy of Science estimated that less than 1 percent of avian fatalities are attributed to wind turbines.”

WaPo: 24 expected to die annually at a single skyscraper-- 21,000 skyscrapers = 504,000 dead birds – “skyscrapers representing less than 1 percent.”

Best Comment: “The bad thing about windmills is that it is basically unsustainable without government support. It is unreliable, we need energy all the time and not only when the wind is blowing. It is ugly, much more than any other development in the area because it can be seen for miles and miles, in all directions. Last but not least, it kills native animals, where they live and fly. The windmills represent just one more encroachment by fast buck developers who want you to think they are good for the environment, supported by the corrupt Democrat Party.”

read … Murder!




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